Semitic


Semitic Languages
Semitic Languages


Key:

Green: Northern Semitic
Red: Central Semitic
Blue: Southern Semitic


Semite Origin


The term Semite means a member of any of various ancient and modern Semitic-speaking peoples originating in southwestern Asia, including Akkadians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews, Arabs, and Ethiopian Semites. It was proposed at first to refer to the languages related to Hebrew by Ludwig Schlözer, in Eichhorn's "Repertorium", vol. VIII (Leipzig, 1781), p. 161. Through Eichhorn the name then came into general usage (cf. his "Einleitung in das Alte Testament" (Leipzig, 1787), I, p. 45). In his "Geschichte der neuen Sprachenkunde", pt. I (Göttingen, 1807) it had already become a fixed technical term.[1[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic#cite_note-0|]]]

The word "Semitic" is an adjective derived from Shem, one of the three sons of Noah in the Bible (Genesis 5.32, 6.10, 10.21), or more precisely from the Greek derivative of that name, namely Σημ (Sēm); the noun form referring to a person is Semite.


Semitic Origins


The Semitic family is a member of the larger Afroasiatic family, all of whose other five or more branches are based in Africa. Largely for this reason, the ancestors of Proto-Semitic speakers are believed by many to have first arrived in the Middle East from Africa, possibly as part of the operation of the Saharan pump, around the late Neolithic


Dating


The earliest attestations of a Semitic language are in Akkadian, dating to ca. the 23rd century BC (see Sargon of Akkad) and Eblaite, but earlier evidence of Akkadian comes from personal names in Sumerian texts. Researchers in Egypt also claim to have discovered Canaanite snake spells that "date from between 3000 and 2400 B.C.".[1[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Semitic#cite_note-0|]]]
.
Mesopotamian religion refers to the religious beliefs and practices followed by the Sumerian and Akkadian (Assyrian/Babylonian) peoples living in Mesopotamia (around the area of modern Iraq) that dominated the region for a period of 4200 years from the fourth millennium BC to approximately the 3rd century AD.[1[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaldean_mythology#cite_note-Bottero_2001:Preface-0|]]] Christianity began to take root among the Mesopotamians in the 1st Century AD, and over the next 300 years the native religion largely died out. However, it is known that the god Ashur was still worshipped in Assyria as late as the 4th Century AD and it is rumoured that Ashurism was still practiced by tiny minorities in northern Assyria (around Harran) until the 17th Century AD. Commonly thought of as a form of paganism, Mesopotamian religion was polytheistic, worshipping over two thousand different deities,[2[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaldean_mythology#cite_note-Bottero_2001:45-1|]]] many of which were associated with a specific city or state within Mesopotamia such as Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Assur, Nineveh, Ur, Uruk, Mari and Babylon. Some of the most significant of these deities were Anu, Ea, Enlil, Ishtar (Astarte), Ashur, Shamash, Tammuz, Adad/Hadad, Sin (Nanna), Dagan, Ninurta, Nisroch, Nergal, Tiamat, Bel and Marduk.


Ancient Semitic religion


The term Ancient Semitic religion encompasses the polytheistic religions of the Semitic speaking peoples of the Ancient Near East and Northeast Africa. Its origins are intertwined with Mesopotamian mythology. As Semitic itself is a rough, categorical term, the definitive bounds of the term "Ancient Semitic religion" are likewise only approximate.

These traditions, and their pantheons, fall into regional categories: Canaanite religions of the Levant, Assyro-Babylonian religion strongly influenced by Sumerian tradition, and Pre-Islamic Arabian polytheism.
A topic of particular interest is the possible transition of Semitic polytheism into the contemporary understanding of Abrahamic monotheism by way of the god El, a word for "god" in Hebrew and cognate to Islam's Allah.


Cosmology


The Sumerians envisioned the universe as a closed dome surrounded by a primordial saltwater sea.[4[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerian_mythology#cite_note-Firmament-3|]]] Underneath the terrestrial earth, which formed the base of the dome, existed an underworld and a freshwater ocean called the Apsu. The god of the dome-shaped firmament was named An; the earth was named Ki. The underground world was first believed to be an extension of Ki, but later developed into the concept of Kigal. The primordial saltwater sea was named Nammu, which became known as Tiamat during and after the Sumerian Renaissance.

Creation Story


According to Sumerian mythology, the gods originally created humans as servants for themselves but freed them when they became too much to handle.[5[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerian_mythology#cite_note-Anthrogenesis-4|]]]
The primordial union of An and Ki produced Enlil, who became leader of the Sumerian pantheon. After the other gods banished Enlil from Dilmun (the “home of the gods”) for raping Ninlil, Ninlil had a child: Nanna, god of the moon. Nanna and Ningal gave birth to Inanna and to Utu, god of the sun.[6[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerian_mythology#cite_note-ETCSL2-5|]]]


Sumerian creation myth


The earliest record of the Sumerian creation myth and flood myth is found on a single fragmentary tablet excavated in Nippur, sometimes called the Eridu Genesis. It is written in the Sumerian language and datable by its script to 2150 BC,[1[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerian_creation_myth#cite_note-0|]]] during the first Babylonian dynasty, where the language of writing and administration was still Sumerian. Other Sumerian creation myths from around this date are called the Barton Cylinder, the Debate between sheep and grain and the Debate between Winter and Summer, also found at Nippur.[2[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerian_creation_myth#cite_note-Wasilewska2000-1|]]]

Where the tablet picks up, the gods An, Enlil, Enki and Ninhursanga create the black-headed people and create comfortable conditions for the animals to live and procreate. Then kingship descends from heaven and the first cities are founded: Eridu, Bad-tibira, Larsa, Sippar, and Shuruppak.

After a missing section in the tablet, we learn that the gods have decided not to save mankind from an impending flood. Zi-ud-sura, the king and gudug priest, learns of this. (In the later Akkadian version, Ea, or Enki in Sumerian, the god of the waters, warns the hero (Atra-hasis in this case) and gives him instructions for the ark. This is missing in the Sumerian fragment, but a mention of Enki taking counsel with himself suggests that this is Enki's role in the Sumerian version as well.)

When the tablet resumes it is describing the flood. A terrible storm rocks the huge boat for seven days and seven nights, then Utu (the Sun god) appears and Zi-ud-sura creates an opening in the boat, prostrates himself, and sacrifices oxen and sheep.

After another break the text resumes: the flood is apparently over, the animals disembark and Zi-ud-sura prostrates himself before An (sky-god) and Enlil (chief of the gods), who give him eternal life and take him to dwell in Dilmun for "preserving the animals and the seed of mankind". The remainder of the poem is lost.[3[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerian_creation_myth#cite_note-2|]]]

The two flood myths with many similarities to the Sumerian story, are the Utnapishtim episode in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Biblical flood. The ancient Greeks also had a very similar flood legend.



Mesopotamian Deities


Mesopotamian religion was polytheistic, thereby accepting the existence of many different deities, both male and female, though it was also henotheistic,[10[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesopotamian_mythology#cite_note-9|]]] with certain gods being viewed as superior to others by their specific devotees. These devotees were often from a particular city or city-state that held that deity as its patron deity, for instance the god Enki was often associated with the city of Eridu, and the god Marduk was associated with Babylon.[11[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesopotamian_mythology#cite_note-10|]]] Whilst the full number of gods and goddesses found in Mesopotamia is not known, K. Tallqvist, in his Akkadische Götterepitheta (1938) counted around two thousand four hundred that we now know about, most of which had Sumerian names. In the Sumerian language, the gods were referred to as dingir, whilst in the Akkadian language they were known as ilu and it seems that there was syncreticism between the gods worshipped by the two groups, adopting one another's deities.[2[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesopotamian_mythology#cite_note-Bottero_2001:45-1|]]]


Eblaite Religion


3rd millennium Ebla was a polytheistic society.[9[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-davis-8|]]] Some well-known Semitic deities appear at Ebla, including Dagan (written as dBE), Ishtar (Ashtar), Resheph (Rasap), Kanish, Hadad (Hadda),[10[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-Johnston-9|]]] Shapash (Shipish), and some otherwise unknown ones (Kura, Nidakul[11[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-arch10-10|]]]), plus a few Sumerian gods (Enki and Ninki) and Hurrian gods (Ashtapi,[11[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-arch10-10|]]] Hebat, Ishara).[citation needed] The four city gates were named after the gods Dagan, Baal (Hadda), Rasap, and Utu.[10[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-Johnston-9|]]] Overall, about forty deities are mentioned in the tablets as receiving sacrifices.[10[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-Johnston-9|]]]

Among Pettinato's controversial claims, he has also suggested that there was a change in the theophoric names shown in many of the tablets found in the archive from *El to *Yah, indicated in the example of the transition from Mika’il to Mikaya. He regards this as evidence for an early use of the divine name Yah, a god who he believes later emerged as Yahweh (YHWH). Bottero has suggested that this shift may instead indicate the popular acceptance of the Akkadian god Ea, introduced from the Sargonid Empire. Archi[12[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-11|]]] and Rainey,[13[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-12|]]] on the other hand, have suggested that the "-ya" is actually a diminutive ending used in shortened forms of personal names, and Müller has argued that the cuneiform sign NI should be interpreted, in this case, as an abbreviation for ì(-lí) ("god") rather than as ià (*Yah)—a view that Archi has since adopted with a modification, his reading been ì or lí.[14[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-Arch11-13|]]] In any case, no list of gods or offerings mentions a deity by the name of Ya,[14[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-Arch11-13|]]][15[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-14|]]] and the connection with Yahweh is largely rejected today.[16[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-15|]]][17[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-16|]]]

Many ancient Hebraic names that have not been found in other Near Eastern languages have been reported to occur in similar forms in Eblaite (Adamu, H’à-wa, Jabal, Abarama, Bilhah, Ishma-el, Isûra-el, Esau, Mika-el, Mikaya, Saul, David, et al.). A large number of Biblical locations (many of them known from other sources) have also been reported to occur in the texts: for example Ashtaroth, Sinai, Jerusalem (Ye-ru-sa-lu-um), Hazor, Lachish, Gezer, Dor, Megiddo, Joppa, Ur etc.[18[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-17|]]][unreliable source?] Giovanni Pettinato has also claimed to find references to Sodom and Gomorrah. However, much of the initial media excitement about supposed Eblaite connections with the Bible, based on preliminary guesses and speculations by Pettinato and others, is now widely deplored as "exceptional and unsubstantiated claims" and "great amounts of disinformation that leaked to the public".[19[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-Y.41-18|]]][20[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-mannheim-19|]]] Contrary to many earlier claims, the present consensus is that "Ebla has no bearing on the Minor Prophets, the historical accuracy of the biblical Patriarchs, Yahweh worship, or Sodom and Gomorra".[19[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-Y.41-18|]]] In Ebla studies, the focus has shifted away from comparisons with the Bible, and Ebla is now studied above all as an incipient civilization in its own right.[19[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-Y.41-18|]]] The tide turned after a bitter personal and scholarly conflict between the scientists involved, as well as what some described as interference by the Syrian authorities on political grounds.[21[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-20|]]][22[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-BAR-21|]]]

Three versions of a text described as an Eblaite creation hymn have been found. They have been translated by Pettinato as
Lord of heaven and earth:the earth was not, you created it,the light of day was not, you created it,the morning light you had not [yet] made exist.[9[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-davis-8|]]]
Some versions of Pettinato's translation use "he" instead of "you".

These lines seem to have points in common both with known Sumerian creation stories and with the Biblical account. Nevertheless, Alfonso Archi has objected that the original text is unclear to the point of being incomprehensible[23[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-Arch-22|]]] (texts from Ebla are difficult to read in general[20[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-mannheim-19|]]][22[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-BAR-21|]]]), leading him to conclude that "there is no Genesis creation story" in the Ebla documents.[19[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-Y.41-18|]]][23[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla#cite_note-Arch-22|]]]

Here is a list of books available regarding the Ebla Tablets...

Reference: The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts

By Mark S. Smith

This book is available in print ...

In his newest book, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism, Smith tries to address this question, but from a different angle in regards to monotheism and polytheism. Beginning with the Ugaritic texts, Smith asks what is monistic about polytheism and how the answer to this question might help make the emergence of Israelite monotheism more intelligible. Ugaritic polytheism is expressed as a monism through the concepts of the divine council or assembly and in the divine family. The two structures are essentially understood as a single entity with four levels: the chief god and his wife (El and Asherah); the seventy divine children (including Baal, Astarte, Anat, probably Resheph as well as the sun-goddess Shapshu and the moon-god Yerak) evidently characterized as the stars of El; the head helper of the divine household, Kothar wa-Hasis; and the servants of the divine household, who include what the Bible understands to be "angels" (in other words, messenger-gods).

This four-tiered model of the divine family and council apparently went through a number of changes in early Israel. In the earliest stage, it would appear that Yahweh was one of these seventy children, each of whom was the patron deity of the seventy nations. This idea appears behind the Dead Sea Scrolls reading and the Septuagint translation of Deuteronomy 32:8-9. In this passage, El is the head of the divine family, and each member of the divine family receives a nation of hi s own: Israel is the portion of Yahweh. The Masoretic Text, evidently uncomfortable with the polytheism expressed in the phrase "according to the number of the divine sons," altered the reading to "according to the number of the children of Israel" (also thought to be seventy). Psalm 82 also presents the god El presiding in a divine assembly at which Yahweh stands up and makes his accusation against the other gods. Here the text shows the older religious worldview which the passage is denouncing.

By some point in the late monarchy, it is evident that the god El was identified with Yahweh, and as a result, Yahweh-El is the husband of the goddess, Asherah. This is the situation represented by biblical condemnations of her cult symbol in the Jerusalem temple (evidently) and in the inscriptions mentioned above. In this form, the religious devotion to Yahweh casts him in the role of the Divine King ruling over all the other deities. This religious outlook appears, for example, in Psalm 29:2, where the "sons of God" or really divine sons or children are called upon to worship Yahweh, the Divine King. The Temple, with its various expressions of polytheism, also assumed that this place was Yahweh's palace which was populated by those under his power. The tour given by Ezekiel 8-10 suggests such a picture. This picture of royal power was further developed with the monotheism of the eighth to the sixth centuries. The other gods became mere expressions of Yahweh's power, and the divine messengers became understood as little more than minor divine beings expressive of Yahweh's power. In other words, the head god became the godhead.


Here are other books available about the Ugarit Tablets.

Canaanite Cosmology


So far, none of the inscribed tablets found in the Canaanite city of Ugarit (destroyed ca. 1200 BC) has revealed a cosmology. Any idea of one is often reconstructed from the much later Phoenician text by Philo of Byblos (c. 64–141 AD), after much Greek and Roman influence in the region.

According to the pantheon, known in Ugarit as 'ilhm (=Elohim) or the children of El (cf. the Biblical "sons of God"), supposedly obtained by Philo of Byblos from Sanchuniathon of Berythus (Beirut) the creator was known as Elion (Biblical El Elyon = God most High), who was the father of the divinities, and in the Greek sources he was married to Beruth (Beirut = the city). El Elyon is mentioned as 'God Most High' occurs in Genesis 14.18–19 as the God whose priest was Melchizedek king of Salem.

From the union of El Elyon and his consort were born Uranus and Ge, Greek names for the "Heaven" and the "Earth". This has parallels with the story of the Babylonian Anunaki (i.e. = "Heaven and Earth"; Shamayim and Ereṣ).



Ancient History of the alphabet

Hieratic 32-30 c. BCE
Proto-Sinaitic alphabet 19 c. BCE

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Hebrew Religion



Urantia Book: Paper 96:1 DEITY CONCEPTS AMONG THE SEMITES

Audio Version
96:1.1 The early Semites regarded everything as being indwelt by a spirit. There were spirits of the animal and vegetable worlds; annual spirits, the lord of progeny; spirits of fire, water, and air; a veritable pantheon of spirits to be feared and worshiped. And the teaching of Melchizedek regarding a never fully destroyed the belief in these subordinate spirits or nature gods.
96:1.2 The progress of the Hebrews from polytheism through henotheism to monotheism was not an unbroken and continuous conceptual development. They experienced many retrogressions in the of their concepts, while during any one epoch there existed varying ideas of God among different groups of Semite believers. From time to time numerous terms were applied to their concepts of God, and in order to prevent confusion these various Deity titles will be defined as they pertain to the evolution of Jewish theology:
  1. 96:1.3 Yahweh was the god of the southern Palestinian tribes, who associated this concept of deity with Mount Horeb, the Sinai volcano. Yahweh was merely one of the hundreds and thousands of nature gods which held the attention and claimed the worship of the Semitic tribes and peoples.
  2. 96:1.4 El Elyon. For centuries after Melchizedek's sojourn at his doctrine of Deity persisted in various versions but was generally connoted by the term El Elyon, the God of heaven. Many Semites, including the immediate descendants of Abraham, at various times worshiped both Yahweh and El Elyon.
  3. 96:1.5 El Shaddai. It is difficult to explain what El Shaddai stood for. This idea of God was a composite derived from the teachings of Amenemope's Book of Wisdom modified by Ikhnaton's doctrine of Aton and further influenced by Melchizedek's teachings embodied in the concept of El Elyon. But as the concept of El Shaddai permeated the Hebrew mind, it became thoroughly colored with the Yahweh beliefs of the desert. 96:1.6 One of the dominant ideas of the religion of this era was the Egyptian concept of divine Providence, the teaching that material prosperity was a reward for serving El Shaddai.
  4. 96:1.7 El. Amid all this confusion of terminology and haziness of concept, many devout believers sincerely endeavored to worship all of these evolving ideas of and there grew up the practice of referring to this composite Deity as El. And this term included still other of the Bedouin nature gods.
  5. 96:1.8 Elohim. In Kish and Ur there long persisted Sumerian-Chaldean groups who taught a three-in-one God concept founded on the traditions of the days of and Melchizedek. This doctrine was carried to Egypt, where this was worshiped under the name of Elohim, or in the singular as Eloah. The philosophic of Egypt and later Alexandrian teachers of Hebraic extraction taught this unity of pluralistic Gods, and many of Moses' advisers at the time of the exodus believed in this Trinity. But the concept of the trinitarian Elohim never became a real part of Hebrew theology until after they had come under the political influence of the Babylonians.
  6. 96:1.9 Sundry names. The Semites disliked to speak the name of their Deity, and they therefore resorted to numerous appellations from time to time, such as: The Spirit of God, The Lord, The Angel of the Lord, The The Holy One, The Most High, Adonai, The Ancient of Days, The Lord God of Israel, The Creator of Heaven and Earth, Kyrios, Jah, The Lord of Hosts, and The Father in Heaven.
96:1.10 Jehovah is a term which in recent times has been employed to designate the completed concept of Yahweh which finally evolved in the long Hebrew experience. But the name Jehovah did not come into use until fifteen hundred years after the times of Jesus.
96:1.11 Up to about 2000 B.C., Mount Sinai was intermittently active as a volcano, occasional eruptions occurring as late as the time of the sojourn of the Israelites in this region. The fire and smoke, together with the thunderous detonations associated with the eruptions of this volcanic mountain, all impressed and awed the Bedouins of the surrounding regions and caused them greatly to fear Yahweh. This spirit of Mount Horeb later became the god of the Hebrew Semites, and they eventually believed him to be supreme over all other gods.
96:1.12 The Canaanites had long revered Yahweh, and although many of the Kenites believed more or less in El Elyon, the supergod of the Salem religion, a majority of the Canaanites held loosely to the worship of the old tribal deities. They were hardly willing to abandon their national deities in favor of an international, not to say an interplanetary, God. They were not universal-deity minded, and therefore these tribes continued to worship their tribal deities, including Yahweh and the silver and golden calves which symbolized the Bedouin herders' concept of the spirit of the Sinai volcano.
96:1.13 The Syrians, while worshiping their gods, also believed in Yahweh of the Hebrews, for their prophets said to the Syrian king: " Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them on the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. "
96:1.14 As man advances in culture, the lesser gods are subordinated to a supreme deity; the great Jove persists only as an exclamation. The monotheists keep their subordinate gods as spirits, demons, fates, Nereids, fairies, brownies, dwarfs, banshees, and the evil eye. The Hebrews passed through henotheism and long believed in the existence of gods other than Yahweh, but they increasingly held that these foreign deities were subordinate to Yahweh. They conceded the actuality of Chemosh, god of the Amorites, but maintained that he was subordinate to Yahweh.
96:1.15 The idea of Yahweh has undergone the most extensive development of all the mortal theories of God. Its progressive evolution can only be compared with the metamorphosis of the Buddha concept in Asia, which in the end led to the concept of the even as the Yahweh concept finally led to the idea of the But as a matter of historic fact, it should be understood that, while the Jews thus changed their views of Deity from the tribal god of Mount Horeb to the loving and merciful Creator Father of later times, they did not change his name; they continued all the way along to call this evolving concept of Deity, Yahweh.
Bible References
Urantia Book: Paper 96:7 PSALMS AND THE BOOK OF JOB

Audio Version
96:7.1 Under the leadership of their sheiks and priests the Hebrews became loosely established in Palestine. But they soon drifted back into the benighted beliefs of the desert and became contaminated with the less advanced Canaanite religious practices. They became idolatrous and licentious, and their idea of fell far below the Egyptian and Mesopotamian concepts of God that were maintained by certain surviving groups, and which are recorded in some of the Psalms and in the so-called Book of Job.
96:7.2 The Psalms are the work of a score or more of authors; many were written by Egyptian and Mesopotamian teachers. During these times when the Levant worshiped nature gods, there were still a goodly number who believed in the supremacy of the
96:7.3 No collection of religious writings gives expression to such a wealth of devotion and inspirational ideas of God as the Book of Psalms. And it would be very helpful if, in the perusal of this wonderful collection of worshipful literature, consideration could be given to the source and chronology of each separate hymn of praise and adoration, bearing in mind that no other single collection covers such a great range of time. This Book of Psalms is the record of the varying concepts of God entertained by the believers of the Salem religion throughout the Levant and embraces the entire period from Amenemope to Isaiah. In the Psalms God is depicted in all phases of conception, from the crude idea of a tribal deity to the vastly expanded ideal of the later Hebrews, wherein Yahweh is pictured as a loving ruler and merciful Father.
96:7.4 And when thus regarded, this group of Psalms constitutes the most valuable and helpful assortment of devotional sentiments ever assembled by man up to the times of the twentieth century. The worshipful spirit of this collection of hymns transcends that of all other sacred books of the world.
96:7.5 The variegated picture of Deity presented in the Book of Job was the product of more than a score of Mesopotamian religious teachers extending over a period of almost three hundred years. And when you read the lofty concept of found in this compilation of Mesopotamian beliefs, you will recognize that it was in the neighborhood of Ur of Chaldea that the idea of a real God was best preserved during the dark days in Palestine.
96:7.6 In Palestine the wisdom and all-pervasiveness of God was often grasped but seldom his love and mercy. The Yahweh of these times " sends evil spirits to dominate the souls of his enemies "; he prospers his own and obedient children, while he curses and visits dire judgments upon all others. " He disappoints the devices of the crafty; he takes the wise in their own deceit. "
96:7.7 Only at Ur did a voice arise to cry out the mercy of God, saying: " He shall pray to God and shall find favor with him and shall see his face with joy, for God will give to man divine righteousness. " Thus from Ur there is preached salvation, divine favor, by faith: " He is gracious to the repentant and says, `Deliver him from going down in the pit, for I have found a ransom.' If any say, `I have sinned and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not,' God will deliver his from going into the pit, and he shall see the light. " Not since the times of Melchizedek had the Levantine world heard such a ringing and cheering message of human salvation as this extraordinary teaching of Elihu, the prophet of Ur and priest of the Salem believers, that is, the remnant of the onetime Melchizedek colony in Mesopotamia.
96:7.8 And thus did the remnants of the Salem missionaries in Mesopotamia maintain the light of truth during the period of the disorganization of the Hebrew peoples until the appearance of the first of that long line of the teachers of Israel who never stopped as they built, concept upon concept, until they had achieved the realization of the ideal of the Universal and Creator Father of all, the acme of the of the Yahweh concept.
96:7.9 [Presented by a Melchizedek of ]
Bible References


Mosaic Religion



The **documentary hypothesis (DH)** (sometimes called the Wellhausen hypothesis[1[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis#cite_note-0|]]]), holds that the Pentateuch (the Torah, or the Five Books of Moses) was derived from originally independent, parallel and complete narratives, which were subsequently combined into the current form by a series of redactors (editors). The number of these is usually set at four, but this is not an essential part of the hypothesis.
The documentary hypothesis assumes that the text of the Torah as preserved can be divided into identifiable sources that predate its compilations by centuries, the Jahwist (J) source being the oldest, dating to as early as the 10th century BCE, along with the Elohist (E), the Deuteronomist (D), and the Priestly source (P), dating to the 8th to 6th centuries. The final compilation of the extant text is dated to either the 6th or 5th century BC.
In an attempt to reconcile inconsistencies in the biblical text, and refusing to accept traditional explanations to harmonize them, 18th and 19th century biblical scholars using source criticism eventually arrived at the theory that the Torah was composed of selections woven together from several, at times inconsistent, sources, each originally a complete and independent document. The hypothesis developed slowly over the course of the 19th century, by the end of which it was generally agreed that there were four main sources, combined into their final form by a series of redactors, R. These four sources came to be known as the **Yahwist**, or Jahwist, **J** (J being the German equivalent of the English letter Y); the **Elohist**, **E**; the **Deuteronomist**, **D**, (the name comes from the Book of Deuteronomy, D's contribution to the Torah); and the **Priestly Writer**, **P**.[2[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis#cite_note-wfu.edu-1|]]]


Israelite Religion


Book Of Yasher (Jasher) Restored Name


Referred To In The Book Of Yahushua And Second Samuel. This version has YAHWEH's Name restored by YAHWEH's Sword.
"Is not this written in the Book of Yasher, Jasher or Yahsher?"--Yahshua, 10:13.
And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Yasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
"Behold it is written in the Book of Yasher or The Book Of Jasher."--II Samuel, 1:18
Also he bade them teach the children of Yahudah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Yasher.
Download the complete pdf Book of Yasher with YAHWEH's Name restored.

SECTION 1 of the Book Of Yasher - The Creation

THE BOOK OF YASHER
1--The Creation of Adam and Eve. The Fall. Birth of Cain and Abel. Abel a Keeper of Sheep. Cain a Tiller of the Soil. The Quarrel Between the Brothers and the Result. Cain, the First Murderer, Cursed of YAHWEH.
2 SETH IS BORN
2--Seth is Born. People begin to Multiply and Become Idolatrous. Third Part of the Earth Destroyed. Earth cursed and becomes corrupt through the Wickedness of Men. Cainan, a Wise and Righteous King, Foretells the Flood. Enoch is Born.
3 ENOCH REIGNS
3--Enoch Reigns over the Earth. Enoch Establishes Righteousness upon the Earth, and after Reigning Two Hundred and Forty Years is Translated
4 CORRUPT AGAIN
4--The People of the Earth Again Become Corrupt. Noah is Born.

SECTION 2 of the Book Of Jasher - Noah and the Ark

5 NOAH & METHUSELAH
5--Noah and Methuselah Preach Repentance for One Hundred and Twenty Years. Noah Builds the Ark. Death of Methuselah
6 THE ARK
6--Animals, Beasts, and Fowls Preserved in the Ark. Noah and his Sons, and their Wives are Shut in. When the Floods come the People want to get in. Noah One Year in the Ark
7 GENERATIONS OF NOAH
7--The Generations of Noah. The Garments of Skin made for Adam Stolen by Ham and they Descend to Nimrod the Mighty Hunter, who Becomes the King of the Whole Earth. The Birth of Abram

SECTION 3 of the Book Of Yasher - The Child Abram

8 NIMROD & ABRAM
8--The Wise Men of Nimrod, by their Divination, Foretell the Evil that Abram will do to Nimrod's Kingdom, and they seek to kill the Child. Abram, with his Mother and Nurse are Hid in a cave for Ten Years
9 ABRAM LEARNS THE WAYS OF YAHWEH
9--When Ten Years Old, Abram goes to Noah and Shem, Remains with them for Thirty-nine Years, and is Taught in all the Ways of YAHWEH. The Wickedness of Nimrod and his People. They Propose to Build a Tower to Heaven and Dethrone YAHWEH. The confusion of Tongues
10 DESCENDANTS OF NOAH
10--The Descendants of Noah, Scattered over the whole earth, build themselves Cities
11 NIMRODS WICKED REIGN
11--Nimrod's Wicked Reign. The Idolatry of Terah, Abram's Father. When Fifty Years old, Abram returns to his Father's House and Discovers his Idols. Makes a pretext to destroy them. After making Savory Meat for the gods, Abram takes a Hatchet and destroys them, leaving the Hatchet in the hands of the larger one, where it is discovered by his Father, who is told by Abram that the Great YAHWEH had risen up in anger and Destroyed his Fellows. Terah in his wrath betrays Abram to the King, who brings him up before the Throne for Judgment. Abram Warns his Father and the King, before all the Princes, of the Evils of Idolatry
12 ABRAM DELIVERED
12--Abram placed in Prison, and is condemned after ten days to be cast into a Fiery Furnace. His Brother Haran being Falsely Accused is condemned to the same Fate. As Haran's heart was not right before YAHWEH, he perished, but Abram is Delivered and is brought forth Alive. Is Presented with Many Gifts. The King Dreams of Abram, and again Seeks his Life. Abram flees to the House of Noah

SECTION 4 of the Book Of Jasher - Abram

13 ABRAM LEAVES UR
13--On Abram's account Terah and all his House, with Abram, Leave Ur Casdim to go to the Land of Canaan. They tarry in Haran, where YAHWEH Appears to Abram, and upon condition of Faithfulness, Promises many Blessings. Abram, commanded of YAHWEH, takes his Wife and all belonging to him and goes to the Land of Canaan, where YAHWEH again appears to him and Promises the Land of Canaan as an Everlasting Inheritance. After Fifteen Years, Abram returns to Haran to Visit his Father. Teaches many to Walk in the Ways of YAHWEH. Again commanded to go to Canaan, where he Builds an Altar. YAHWEH renews his Covenant with him
14 RIKAYON CUNNING DEVICE
14--Rikayon's cunning Device to make Money of the Egyptians
15 ABRAM GOES TO EGYPT
15--On Account of Famine in Canaan, Abram goes to Egypt. Tells the People that Sarah is his Sister, on account of her Beauty. Pharaoh Desires to take her, but is Prevented by an Heavenly Messenger of YAHWEH. The Truth is made known, and Sarah is Restored to Abram, with many Presents. Abram returns to his Home. Trouble between Lot and Abram on account of Lot's cattle. Lot Removes to Sodom
16 WAR WITH KINGS
16--Four Kings with Eight Hundred Thousand Men War against Sodom and the Cities of the Plain, and destroy and plunder their people. Abram, Hearing that Lot is taken captive, gathers together about Three Hundred Men and Pursues the Kings, retakes the captives, and smites the whole Army of the confederate Rings. On his Return, Abram meets Melchizedek, King of Yerusalem, the same was Shem. Abram gives Tithing of all he had taken to Melchizedek, and is Blessed of Him. Abram Restores to every Man his property which he had retaken in the War, and returns to Hebron. YAHWEH again appears to Abram and promises to bless him with a Numberless Posterity. Sarah being childless gives Hagar to Abram for a Wife, and becoming jealous of her, afflicts her. An Heavenly Messenger comforts Hagar. Ishmael is Born

SECTION 5 of the Book Of Yasher - Abraham

17 COVENANT WITH ABRAM
17--YAHWEH Appears to Abram and Establishes the Covenant of Circumcision, and calls his name Abraham, and Sarai, He calls Sarah
18 ABRAHAM & SARAH
18--Abraham Entertains Three Heavenly Messengers, who eat with him. Sarah is promised a Son. The People of Sodom and Gomorrah, and of all the Cities of the Plain become very Wicked
19 SODOM & GOMORRAH
19--The Abominations of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Two Heavenly Messengers sent to Save Lot. The Cities of the Plain and all their Inhabitants Destroyed by Fire
20 ABRAHAM TO PHILISTINES
20--Abraham goes to the land of the Philistines, and again tells the People that Sarah is his Sister. Abimelech the King desires her for a Wife. An Heavenly Messenger warns him, and commands him to return her to her Husband. The whole land afflicted on account of the matter. Sarah Restored to Abraham, who entreats YAHWEH to heal the People of Abimelech.
21 ISAAC IS BORN
21--Isaac is Born, causing much Rejoicing among the Friends of Abraham. Ishmael Attempts to kill Isaac, and on that account is sent away with his Mother. Ishmael is blessed with Riches and Posterity.
22 ISHMAEL RETURNS
22--Ishmael returns to his Father, with his Wives and Children. Abraham Returns to Canaan and makes his Home in Beersheba, where he Hospitably Entertains all strangers and teaches them the way of YAHWEH. Isaac and Ishmael's conversation. The Offering of Isaac Foretold. Satan's opinion of the Father of the Faithful.

SECTION 6 of the Book Of Jasher - Abraham and Isaac

23 ABRAHAM OFFER UP ISAAC
23--Abraham commanded to Offer up Isaac, in the Land Moriah. Abraham's Obedience. Sarah's Affliction. What Happened on the Way. Satan attempts to hinder them. Isaac an Acceptable Offering. Father and Son alone. The willingness of Isaac. He Assists his Father in Building the Altar. While they both weep bitterly, they yet Rejoice to be counted worthy before YAHWEH. Isaac bound and placed upon the Altar. The Heavenly Messengers of YAHWEH intercede for Isaac, who is released at the command of YAHWEH, and a Ram is offered in his place. Satan, by his deception and Evils, causes the Death of Sarah.
24 ISAAC LEARNS THE WAY
24--Abraham Purchases a Burial Place. Isaac sent to the House of Shem and Eber to Learn the Way of YAHWEH. Eliezer is sent to get a Wife for Isaac. Goes to the House of Bethuel and brings Rebecca.
25 ABRAHAM TAKES KETURAH
25--Abraham takes Keturah for a Wife, by whom he has Six Sons. The Generations of the Sons of Keturah, and of Ishmael.
26 ISAAC & REBECCA
26--Isaac and Rebecca pray for children. Their Prayers answered, and Esau and Yacob are Born. Abraham, after recounting all the Wonderful Works of YAHWEH, enjoins his Son to Walk in His way and keep His Commandments. In the Fifteenth Year of Yacob and Esau's lives, Abraham Dies and is Buried by all the Kings of the land. All the People and even the children mourn for Abraham for a Full.
27 ESAU SLAYS NIMROD
27--Esau slays Nimrod and Two of his Mighty Men. Returns Home weary from the Fight, and sells his Birthright for Value.
28 The FAMINE
28--On account of Famine, Isaac goes to Gerar, the Land of the Philistines. After the Famine he Returns at the Command of YAHWEH to Hebron. Yacob is sent to the House of Shem where he Remains Thirty-two Years to learn the Way of YAHWEH, but Esau would not go. Esau marries a Canaanitish Woman.

SECTION 7 of the Book Of Yasher - Yacob

29 YACOB GETS THE BIRTHRIGHT
29--Yacob by deceit obtains his Brother's Blessing. Yacob fearing his Brother's anger, flees to the House of Eber, where he remains for Fourteen Years. Esau again marries a Woman of the Land. Yacob returns to his Father, but being still threatened by Esau, is advised by his Mother to go to her Brother Laban, in Haran. Yacob goes to Haran, being Commanded by his Father not to Marry any of the Daughters of Canaan. Yacob is Waylaid on the Road, by the Son of Esau, and is Robbed of all he Possessed.
30 COVENANT WITH YACOB
30--When he Arrives at Mount Moriah, YAHWEH appears to Yacob and establishes His Covenant with him. Arriving at his Uncle's House he Engages to Serve Seven Years for Rachel.
31 YACOB IS DECEIVED
31--Yacob is Deceived and is given Leah in Place of Rachel, but is Given Rachel for Seven Years' more Service. Yacob serves Laban six years longer for Wages and becomes very Rich, when YAHWEH Appears to him and commands him to Return to the Land of Canaan. Yacob Obeys and goes from Laban. Rachel Steals her Father's gods, that he may not know where Yacob has fled. Laban Pursues him, but establishes a covenant of peace. Laban breaks his Covenant by sending his Son secretly to Esau that Yacob may Fall in his Hands. Esau, with Four Hundred Men, seek to Destroy Yacob.
32 YACOB MEETS ESAU
32--Yacob sends a Message of Peace to his Brother, who rejects it with contempt, and Advances to Destroy him. Hosts of Heavenly Messengers cause the Fear of Yacob to come upon Esau, and he goes to meet him in peace, in answer to Yacob's Prayer. Yacob Wrestles with an Heavenly Messenger of YAHWEH.
33 YACOB GOES TO SHECHEM
33--Yacob goes to Shechem. Prince Shechem defiles Dinah the Daughter of Yacob. Shechem desires her for a Wife.

SECTION 8 of the Book Of Jasher - Sons of Yacob

34 Simeon and Levi avenge Dinah
34--The Perfidy of Shechem. Simeon and Levi, Sons of Yacob, avenge the Honor of their Sister Dinah, Destroy all the Men of the City, and Spoil it. The People of Canaan conspire to avenge the cause of Shechem. Isaac and Yacob Pray for Succor.
35 FEAR OF YAHWEH
35--The Fear of YAHWEH come upon the Canaanites, and they do not Fight with Yacob.
36 YACOB GOES TO BETHEL
36--Yacob and his House goes to Bethel, where YAHWEH appears to him, calls his name Yisrael, and Blesses him. The Generations of Yacob and Esau.
37 RETURN TO SHECHEM
37--Yacob Returns to Shechem. The Kings of Canaan again assemble against Yacob. Yacob's Ten Sons with One Hundred and Two of their servants Fight against the Canaanites and Amorites, and are successful.
38 YACOBS SONS DESTROY CITIES
38 --The Sons of Yacob Destroy many Cities of Canaan and all their people.
39 SONS DESTROY MORE CITIES
39--The Sons of Yacob Destroy many Cities of Canaan and all their people.
40 KINGS MAKE PEACE
40--The Remaining Twenty-one Kings of Canaan, fearing the Sons of Yacob, make a permanent Peace with them.

SECTION 9 of the Book Of Yasher - Yoseph, the Son of Yacob

41 YOSEPH DREAMS
41--Yoseph, the Son of Yacob, Dreams of his Future Exaltation over his Brethren. Being his Father's Favorite, his Brethren become Jealous. Yoseph is sent to Visit his Brethren. They conspire against him, and at the Suggestion of Reuben Place him in a Pit.
42 YOSEPH SOLD
42--Yoseph is sold to a company of Midianites, who in Turn sold him to the Ishmaelites, who take him down to Egypt. An account of his Journey thither, and of his Affliction on the Road.
43 REUBENS ANGUISH
43--Reuben's Anguish at not Finding Yoseph in the Pit. The Brothers contrive to Deceive their Father by Dipping his coat in Blood. Yacob's Anguish at the loss of his Son.
44 YOSEPH SOLD TO POTIPHAR
44--Yoseph is sold to Potiphar, an Officer of Pharaoh. Zelicah, the Wife of Potiphar, seeks to entice Yoseph to do Evil, but all her advances are Rejected. Is Falsely Accused by her and is brought to Judgment. Is Acquitted by his Judges, but for the Sake of the Report against Potiphar's Wife, he is cast into Prison.
45 ACCOUNT OF YACOB
45--An Account of the Families of Yacob's Sons.
46 YOSEPH IN PRISON
46--Yoseph Interprets the Dreams of his Fellow-Prisoners.
47 ISAAC BLESSINGS
47--Isaac Blesses his two Sons and Dies. His Property is Divided. Esau takes all the personal Property and Yacob chooses the Inheritance of the Land of Canaan, with the Cave of Machpelah for a Burying Place.
48 PHARAOHS DREAM
48--Pharaoh's Dreams. Not Receiving a Satisfactory Interpretation from the Magicians, he orders the Wise Men to be Slain. The King's Butler makes Yoseph's Gifts known to Pharaoh. Yoseph is Brought before the King, who Relates his Dreams to him. Yoseph, by the Gift of YAHWEH, Interprets them. A great Famine Predicted.
49 PHARAOH APPOINTS YOSEPH
49--Pharaoh Assembles all the Great Men of the Kingdom, and desires to appoint Yoseph to Govern Egypt. They Object because he cannot speak all the Seventy Languages of the Earth. An Heavenly Messenger visits Yoseph and teaches him all the Languages of the Earth. When brought before the King, Yoseph's Wisdom and Knowledge please Pharaoh and all the Princes of Egypt, and he is appointed the Second to the King, and all authority is given him. Yoseph is made Wealthy and clothed in Princely apparel and proclaimed Governor of Egypt. Is given the Daughter of Potiphar for a Wife
50 YEARS OF GREAT PLENTY IN EGYP
50--Yoseph goes to help the Ishmaelites against their Enemies. Great Plenty prevails in Egypt as Yoseph predicted. Yoseph's Two Sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. Yoseph stores up Food throughout Egypt. That stored by the Egyptians is spoiled. The Famine prevails over all the Land and Yoseph sells corn to all the Egyptians and the surrounding Nations. Knowing that his Brethren will have to come to Egypt for Corn, he arranges to meet them when they come
51 YACOB SEND SONS TO EGYPT
51--Yacob sends his Ten Oldest Sons to Egypt for Food. Tells them not to enter in at one gate but to go in Separately. On the way they Covenant together to seek for Yoseph, and if they cannot ransom him they resolve to take him by force. They enter in at ten gates, and spread themselves to seek for Yoseph three days. Yoseph, in the meantime, has his men Seeking them. When found they are brought before Yoseph who accuses them of being Spies. Yoseph sends his Brethren home with corn, while Simeon is kept as a hostage till they shall again come to Egypt with their Younger Brother. They are astonished to find their Money in their sacks of corn
52 YACOB'S SORROW
52--Yacob's sorrow at the absence of Simeon; Refuses to let Benjamin go. But when he and his Household become pinched with hunger, Yahudah pleads for Benjamin. Tells his Father of the great splendor and Authority of the Governor of Egypt and offers himself as Security for his Younger Brother. Yacob consents and sends his Sons again to Egypt with a conciliatory Letter and Present to the Governor

SECTION 10 of the Book Of Jasher - Yisrael

53 SECOND TRIP TO EGYPT
53--Yacob's Sons again go to Egypt for Bread. Benjamin is presented before Yoseph. Yoseph's Cup. Yoseph's conduct towards Benjamin by which he makes himself known to him. Resolves to prove his Brethren by taking away Benjamin from them, and puts his Cup in Benjamin's sack of corn and sends them Home to their Father. An Officer is sent after them who accuses them of purloining his Master's Cup. Brings them back to Yoseph. Benjamin is taken from them by force, and they are told to go on their way
54 YAHUDAHS ANGER
54--Yahudah breaks through the Door to get to Yoseph and Benjamin. He recounts the many Mighty Deeds of his Brethren and threatens to destroy all Egypt if Benjamin be not released. Yoseph wrangles with his Brethren and accuses them of Selling their Brother. They commence to war upon the Egyptians, and frighten the whole Land. After satisfying himself of their repentance for selling their Brother, Yoseph makes himself known to them, and bestows presents upon them. They are presented before Pharaoh, who commands Yoseph to bring all his Father's Household Down to Egypt. He sends Chariots for this Purpose, laden with Presents, Luxuries and Clothing. Yacob's joy on Learning that Yoseph is still Alive
55 YACOB GO TO EGYPT
55--YAHWEH commands Yacob to go down to Egypt, where He will make him a Great Nation. Yoseph and all Egypt go to meet Yacob to do him Honor when he arrives. The Land of Goshen is given to him and his Children
56 YACOB DIES
56--After Seventeen Years' Dwelling in Egypt, Yacob dies, after Blessing his Children and commanding them to go in the Way of YAHWEH. Yoseph and his Brethren and all the Mighty Men of Egypt go up to Canaan to Bury Yacob. Esau, claiming the Land of Canaan as his, will not Allow Yoseph to Bury his Father. After Esau and many of his People are slain, Yacob is Buried by Force. All the Kings of Canaan come up to do him Honor

SECTION 11 of the Book Of Yasher - Wars and Yisrael's Bondage

57 ESAU WARS WITH YACOB
57--The Sons of Esau make war with the Sons of Yacob and are smitten. Some are taken captive to Egypt. The Children of Esau enlist the People of Seir to Accompany them to Egypt to Deliver their Brethren. Yoseph and his Brethren and the Egyptians slay Six Hundred Thousand. Nearly all the Mighty Men of Seir being Slain, they make war with the Children of Esau to Drive them from their Land. Esau prevails and utterly annihilates the Children of Seir
58 PHARAOH DIES
58--Pharaoh dies and the whole Government of Egypt devolves upon Yoseph, Pharaoh the Younger being but a nominal Ruler. The Children of Esau again come Against the Yisraelites, and are again smitten
59 THE SONS OF YACOBS POSTERITY
59--Yacob's Posterity in Egypt. After Prophesying that YAHWEH would Deliver his Brethren from Egypt, Yoseph dies and is buried, and the Yisraelites are ruled over by the Egyptians
60 ZEPHO ESCAPES
60--Zepho, the Son of Eliphaz, the Son of Esau, who was taken Captive by Yoseph where he Buried his Father, Escapes from Egypt with all his Men
[[http://yahwehsword.org/yahsher/61_petty_wars_1.htm|61 PETTY WARS 1]]
62 PETTY WARS 2
63 PETTY WARS 3
61, 62, and 63--Petty Wars and contentions of the Nations of Africa with Zepho.
64 ZEPHO LEADS ARMY
64--Zepho Leads a Great Army of Chittimites, Edomites, and Ishmaelites against Egypt. Three Hundred Thousand Egyptians put to Flight, but One Hundred and Fifty Men of Yisrael prevail against Zepho
65 YISRAEL IN BONDAGE
65--The Elders of Egypt conspire with Pharaoh and cunningly bring Yisrael into Bondage to them. Being afraid of their power, they afflict them in order to lessen the Number of the Children of Yisrael
66 ALL MALES KILLED
66--Pharaoh Decrees that every Male Child born in Yisrael shall be Killed, and still they increase
67 AARON IS BORN
67--Aaron is Born. On Account of Pharaoh's decree, many of the Sons of Yisrael live apart from their Wives. The King's counsellors devise another plan to lessen the number of Yisrael by drowning them. YAHWEH finds a means of preserving the Male Children

SECTION 12 of the Book Of Jasher - Mosheh, a Child of Promise

68 MOSHEH IS BORN
68--Mosheh, a Child of Promise, is born. The Egyptian Women acting as Spies. Mosheh is discovered, and placed by his Mother in an Ark of Bulrushes. Is Found and Adopted by the Daughter of Pharaoh, and grows up among the King's Children.
69 PHARAOH PROCLAIMS
69--Pharaoh Proclaims, that if any of the Yisraelites are short in their Labor, either in Bricks or Mortar, his Youngest Son shall be put in their Place.
70 MOSHEH AND CROWN
70--Mosheh puts the King's crown upon his own head. Baalam and the Wise Men make this a Pretext against him. When grown up, Mosheh visits his Brethren, and learns of their Grievances. Mosheh obtains a day's rest on the Sabbath for all Yisrael.
71 SLAYS AN EGYPTIAN
71--Mosheh slays an Egyptian and being Discovered flees from Egypt. Aaron Prophecies.
72 MOSHEH FLEES TO CUSH
72--Mosheh flees to Cush. At the Death of the king, he is chosen in his Stead. He Reigns Forty Years in Cush.
73 REIGN OF MOSHEH
73--The Reign of Mosheh, and his Strategic Warfare.
74 WAR IN AFRICA
74--War in Africa.
75 SOME DEPART TO EARLY
75--Thirty Thousand Ephraimites think it Time to get out of Egypt, Rise up to go to Canaan, but are Slain by the Philistines.
76 MOSHEH LEAVES CUSH
76--Mosheh leaves Cush and goes to the Land of Midian. Reuel, (Jethro) taking him for a Refugee, keeps him in prison for Ten Years. Is fed by Zipporah, the Daughter of Reuel (Jethro). Pharaoh smitten of the Plague. Slays a child of the Yisraelites every day. He dies of the Rot, and his Son, Adikam, Reigns in his Stead.
77 YISRAEL AFFLICTED MORE
77--Adikam Pharaoh Afflicts Yisrael more than ever. Mosheh is Released by Reuel (Jethro), and Marries his Daughter Zipporah. Mosheh obtains possession of YAHWEH's Stick.
78 MOSHEH TWO SONS
78--Mosheh has Two Sons. Pharaoh withholds Straw from the Yisraelites.
79 YAHWEH APPEARS TO MOSHEH
79--YAHWEH appears to Mosheh and commands him to go down to Egypt to Deliver Yisrael. Aaron meets him. Yisrael on hearing of his Mission greatly rejoices. Mosheh and Aaron go to Pharaoh, who calls all the Magicians to meet Mosheh. They Perform Miracles as well as Mosheh, and thus Deceive the King. Pharaoh, not finding the Name of YAHWEH on any of the Books of Records, says he does not know who He is, and will not let his People go. Mosheh and Aaron teach Pharaoh, but he will not hearken, but causes the labor of the Children of Yisrael to be increased. Mosheh being discouraged is told by YAHWEH that with an outstretched hand and heavy Plagues, Yisrael shall be Delivered.
80 MOSHEH & AARON
80--After Two Years, Mosheh and Aaron again go to Pharaoh, but Pharaoh will not Hearken. YAHWEH afflicts Egypt with all manner of Plagues and Afflictions. The First-born of all the Egyptians is Slain. Pharaoh sends the Children of Yisrael away, and all the Egyptians rise up to urge their Departure, but they will not go in the Night.

SECTION 13 of the Book Of Yasher - Departure of the Yisraelites from Egypt

81 THE DEPARTURE FROM EGYPT
81--The Departure of the Yisraelites from Egypt with Great Riches and Flocks and Herds. After the Egyptians bury their First-born, many of them go after the Yisraelites to induce them to return. But they refuse to return, and fight the Nobles of Egypt and drive them home. Pharaoh resolves with the Egyptians to pursue Yisrael and compel them to Return. The Children of Yisrael are divided--some wanting to go back. Mosheh prays for deliverance. YAHWEH tells him not to cry to him, but proceed. The waters of the Red Sea are Divided. The Yisraelites pass Through in Safety, but the Egyptians are utterly Destroyed. The Yisraelites proceed on their Journey, and are fed with Manna. The Children of Esau fight Yisrael, but the Latter Prevail.
82 TEN COMMANDMENTS
82--The Ten Commandments are Given. While Mosheh is in the Mount, Aaron makes a Golden Calf, and Yisrael Worships it. Civil War. YAHWEH has a Sanctuary Built for His Worship in the Wilderness.
83 AARON AND SONS
83--Aaron and his Sons are Placed in charge of YAHWEH's Service. The Sacrifices and Offerings. The Passover is Celebrated. The People lust for Flesh to eat. Their punishment. Mosheh sends Twelve Men to explore the Land of Canaan. Ten of them bring an Evil Report, and the People want to Return to Egypt. For their Lack of Faith that Generation shall not Live to obtain their Possessions.
84 EARTH SWALLOWS
84--The Earth Swallows up the Rebellious. The Children of Yisrael commanded not to War with the Children of Esau, or Moab. The Edomites will not let Yisrael pass through their Land.
85 CANAANITES FIGHT
85--Some of the Canaanites rise up to fight Yisrael, who are frightened and run away. But the Sons of Levi compel them to Return. They prevail over their Enemies. They must not touch Ammon. Og, King of Bashan. Balaam is called upon to curse Yisrael, but will not. Yisrael commits Whoredom with the Moabites, and they are Smitten with Pestilence.
86 OVER TWENTY DIE
86--All over twenty years of age at the time of Leaving Egypt die at the Expiration of Forty Years. Yisrael is Numbered. The Midianites are destroyed, and their Spoil is Divided among the People.

SECTION 14 of the Book Of Jasher - Yehoshua Ben Nun

87 YAHSHUA APPOINTED
87--Mosheh appoints Yehushua his successor. YAHWEH encourages Yahshua. Mosheh teaches the children of Yisrael to Walk in the Way of YAHWEH. He goes up to Mount Abarim and dies there.
88 PASS OVER YARDEN
88--YAHWEH commands Yahshua to prepare the People to pass over Jordan to possess the Land. Jericho is Besieged, Taken, and Destroyed. Achan brings evil upon the camp by Purloining the cursed thing, and Brings Destruction upon Himself. All is taken and Destroyed. The Gibeonites cunningly save themselves. Five Kings rise up against Yisrael and are destroyed. The Sun and Moon stand still at Yahshua's Command.
89 SONGS OF PRAISE
89--Yahshua's Song of Praise. The Wars of Yisrael.
90 LAND DIVIDED & REST
90--The Edomites are Smitten by Chittim. The Land is Divided, and the people have Rest. Yahshua being Advanced in Years Exhorts the people to Observe all the Laws of Mosheh, and then Dies.
91 ELDERS JUDGE YISRAEL
91--The Elders Judge Yisrael. They drive out all the Canaanites and Inherit the Promised Land.

Ruth

1 2 3 4
1st Samuel

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31
2nd Samuel

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24
1st Kings

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22
2nd Kings

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25

Nephite Religion

"Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians." Book of Mormon: 1 Nephi 1:2

In other words, Semitic, Akkadian, and Ugarit high god Anu/El and Eblaite Yahweh recorded using the Egyptian-Canaanite-Phoencian-Samaritan alphabet...

"And it came to pass that they did rejoice exceedingly, and did offer sacrifice and burnt offerings unto [Yahweh]; and they gave thanks unto the God of Israel. And after that they had given thanks unto the God of Israel, my father...took the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, and he did search them from the beginning. And he beheld that they did contain the five books of Moses, which gave an account of the creation of the world, and also of Adam and Eve, which was our first parents; and also a record of Jews from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah, King of Judah; and also the prophecies of the Holy prophets, from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah; and also many prophecies which have been spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah."
-Book of Mormon: 1 Nephi 5

In other words the essence of the information we now have in Genesis through 2 Kings (the Torah and the information in the Ebla Tablets which became most of the Jewish Former Prophets)...



Urantia Book: Paper 97 :9. HEBREW HISTORY

97:9.1 There never were twelve tribes of the Israelites—only three or four tribes settled in Palestine. The Hebrew nation came into being as the result of the union of the so-called Israelites and the Canaanites. "And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites. And they took their daughters to be their wives and gave their daughters to the sons of the Canaanites."[57] The Hebrews never drove the Canaanites out of Palestine, notwithstanding that the priests' record of these things unhesitatingly declared that they did.[58]
97:9.2 The Israelitish consciousness took origin in the hill country of Ephraim; the later Jewish consciousness originated in the southern clan of Judah. The Jews (Judahites) always sought to defame and blacken the record of the northern Israelites (Ephraimites).
97:9.3 Pretentious Hebrew history begins with Saul's rallying the northern clans to withstand an attack by the Ammonites upon their fellow tribesmen—the Gileadites—east of the Jordan. With an army of a little more than three thousand he defeated the enemy, and it was this exploit that led the hill tribes to make him king. When the exiled priests rewrote this story, they raised Saul's army to 330,000 and added "Judah" to the list of tribes participating in the battle.
97:9.4 Immediately following the defeat of the Ammonites, Saul was made king by popular election by his troops. No priest or prophet participated in this affair. But the priests later on put it in the record that Saul was crowned king by the prophet Samuel in accordance with divine directions. This they did in order to establish a "divine line of descent" for David's Judahite kingship.
97:9.5 The greatest of all distortions of Jewish history had to do with David. After Saul's victory over the Ammonites (which he ascribed to Yahweh) the Philistines became alarmed and began attacks on the northern clans. David and Saul never could agree. David with six hundred men entered into a Philistine alliance and marched up the coast to Esdraelon. At Gath the Philistines ordered David off the field; they feared he might go over to Saul. David retired; the Philistines attacked and defeated Saul. They could not have done this had David been loyal to Israel. David's army was a polyglot assortment of malcontents, being for the most part made up of social misfits and fugitives from justice.
97:9.6 Saul's tragic defeat at Gilboa by the Philistines brought Yahweh to a low point among the gods in the eyes of the surrounding Canaanites. Ordinarily, Saul's defeat would have been ascribed to apostasy from Yahweh, but this time the Judahite editors attributed it to ritual errors. They required the tradition of Saul and Samuel as a background for the kingship of David.
97:9.7 David with his small army made his headquarters at the non-Hebrew city of Hebron. Presently his compatriots proclaimed him king of the new kingdom of Judah. Judah was made up mostly of non-Hebrew elements—Kenites, Calebites, Jebusites, and other Canaanites. They were nomadsherders—and so were devoted to the Hebrew idea of land ownership. They held the ideologies of the desert clans.
97:9.8 The difference between sacred and profane history is well illustrated by the two differing stories concerning making David king as they are found in the Old Testament. A part of the secular story of how his immediate followers (his army) made him king was inadvertently left in the record by the priests who subsequently prepared the lengthy and prosaic account of the sacred history wherein is depicted how the prophet Samuel], by divine direction, selected David from among his brethren and proceeded formally and by elaborate and solemn ceremonies to anoint him king over the Hebrews and then to proclaim him Saul's successor.
97:9.9 So many times did the priests, after preparing their fictitious narratives of God's miraculous dealings with Israel, fail fully to delete the plain and matter-of-fact statements which already rested in the records.
97:9.10 David sought to build himself up politically by first marrying Saul's daughter, then the widow of Nabal the rich Edomite, and then the daughter of Talmai, the king of Geshur. He took six wives from the women of Jebus, not to mention Bathsheba, the wife of the Hittite.
97:9.11 And it was by such methods and out of such people that David built up the fiction of a divine kingdom of Judah as the successor of the heritage and traditions of the vanishing northern kingdom of Ephraimite Israel. David's cosmopolitan tribe of Judah was more gentile than Jewish; nevertheless the oppressed elders of Ephraim came down and "anointed him king of Israel." After a military threat, David then made a compact with the Jebusites and established his capital of the united kingdom at Jebus (Jerusalem), which was a strong-walled city midway between Judah and Israel. The Philistines were aroused and soon attacked David. After a fierce battle they were defeated, and once more Yahweh was established as "The Lord God of Hosts."[59]
97:9.12 But Yahweh must, perforce, share some of this glory with the Canaanite gods, for the bulk of David's army was non-Hebrew. And so there appears in your record (overlooked by the Judahite editors) this telltale statement: "Yahweh has broken my enemies before me. Therefore he called the name of the place Baal-Perazim."[60] And they did this because eighty per cent of David's soldiers were Baalites.
97:9.13 David explained Saul's defeat at Gilboa by pointing out that Saul had attacked a Canaanite city, Gibeon, whose people had a peace treaty with the Ephraimites. Because of this, Yahweh forsook him. Even in Saul's time David had defended the Canaanite city of Keilah against the Philistines, and then he located his capital in a Canaanite city. In keeping with the policy of compromise with the Canaanites, David turned seven of Saul's descendants over to the Gibeonites to be hanged.
97:9.14 After the defeat of the Philistines, David gained possession of the "ark of Yahweh,"[61] brought it to Jerusalem, and made the worship of Yahweh official for his kingdom. He next laid heavy tribute on the neighboring tribes—the Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, and Syrians.
97:9.15 David's corrupt political machine began to get personal possession of land in the north in violation of the Hebrew mores and presently gained control of the caravan tariffs formerly collected by the Philistines. And then came a series of atrocities climaxed by the murder of Uriah. All judicial appeals were adjudicated at Jerusalem; no longer could " the elders " mete out justice. No wonder rebellion broke out. Today, Absalom might be called a demagogue; his mother was a Canaanite. There were a half dozen contenders for the throne besides the son of BathshebaSolomon.
97:9.16 After David's death Solomon purged the political machine of all northern influences but continued all of the tyranny and taxation of his father's regime. Solomon bankrupted the nation by his lavish court and by his elaborate building program: There was the house of Lebanon, the palace of Pharaoh's daughter, the temple of Yahweh, the king's palace, and the restoration of the walls of many cities. Solomon created a vast Hebrew navy, operated by Syrian sailors and trading with all the world. His harem numbered almost one thousand.
97:9.17 By this time Yahweh's temple at Shiloh was discredited, and all the worship of the nation was centered at Jebus in the gorgeous royal chapel. The northern kingdom returned more to the worship of Elohim. They enjoyed the favor of the Pharaohs, who later enslaved Judah, putting the southern kingdom under tribute.
97:9.18 There were ups and downs—wars between Israel and Judah. After four years of civil war and three dynasties, Israel fell under the rule of city despots who began to trade in land. Even King Omri attempted to buy Shemer's estate. But the end drew on apace when Shalmaneser III decided to control the Mediterranean coast. King Ahab of Ephraim gathered ten other groups and resisted at Karkar; the battle was a draw. The Assyrian was stopped but the allies were decimated. This great fight is not even mentioned in the Old Testament.
97:9.19 New trouble started when King Ahab tried to buy land from Naboth. His Phoenician wife forged Ahab's name to papers directing that Naboth's land be confiscated on the charge that he had blasphemed the names of " Elohim and the king." He and his sons were promptly executed. The vigorous Elijah appeared on the scene denouncing Ahab for the murder of the Naboths. Thus Elijah, one of the greatest of the prophets, began his teaching as a defender of the old land mores as against the land-selling attitude of the Baalim, against the attempt of the cities to dominate the country. But the reform did not succeed until the country landlord Jehu joined forces with the gypsy chieftain Jehonadab to destroy the prophets (real estate agents) of Baal at Samaria.
97:9.20 New life appeared as Jehoash and his son Jeroboam delivered Israel from its enemies. But by this time there ruled in Samaria a gangster-nobility whose depredations rivaled those of the Davidic dynasty of olden days. State and church went along hand in hand. The attempt to suppress freedom of speech led Elijah, Amos, and Hosea to begin their secret writing, and this was the real beginning of the Jewish and Christian Bibles.
97:9.21 But the northern kingdom did not vanish from history until the king of Israel conspired with the king of Egypt and refused to pay further tribute to Assyria. Then began the three years' siege followed by the total dispersion of the northern kingdom. Ephraim (Israel) thus vanished. Judah—the Jews, the " remnant of Israel "—had begun the concentration of land in the hands of the few, as Isaiah said, " Adding house to house and field to field. " Presently there was in Jerusalem a temple of Baal alongside the temple of Yahweh. This reign of terror was ended by a monotheistic revolt led by the boy king Joash, who crusaded for Yahweh for thirty-five years.
97:9.22 The next king, Amaziah, had trouble with the revolting tax-paying Edomites and their neighbors. After a signal victory he turned to attack his northern neighbors and was just as signally defeated. Then the rural folk revolted; they assassinated the king and put his sixteen-year-old son on the throne. This was Azariah], called [Uzziah by Isaiah. After Uzziah, things went from bad to worse, and [Judah existed for a hundred years by paying tribute to the kings of [Assyria. [Isaiah the first told them that Jerusalem, being the city of Yahweh, would never fall. But [Jeremiah did not hesitate to proclaim its downfall.
97:9.23 The real undoing of Judah was effected by a corrupt and rich ring of politicians operating under the rule of a boy king, [Manasseh. The changing economy favored the return of the worship of [Baal, whose private land dealings were against the ideology of Yahweh. The fall of Assyria and the ascendency of Egypt brought deliverance to Judah for a time, and the country folk took over. Under Josiah they destroyed the Jerusalem ring of corrupt politicians.
97:9.24 But this era came to a tragic end when Josiah presumed to go out to intercept Necho's mighty army as it moved up the coast from Egypt for the aid of Assyria against Babylon. He was wiped out, and Judah went under tribute to Egypt. The Baal political party returned to power in Jerusalem, and thus began the real Egyptian bondage. Then ensued a period in which the Baalim politicians controlled both the courts and the priesthood. Baal worship was an economic and social system dealing with property rights as well as having to do with soil fertility.
97:9.25 With the overthrow of Necho by Nebuchadnezzar, Judah fell under the rule of Babylon and was given ten years of grace, but soon rebelled. When Nebuchadnezzar came against them, the Judahites started social reforms, such as releasing slaves, to influence Yahweh. When the Babylonian army temporarily withdrew, the Hebrews rejoiced that their magic of reform had delivered them. It was during this period that Jeremiah told them of the impending doom, and presently Nebuchadnezzar returned.
97:9.26 And so the end of Judah came suddenly. The city was destroyed, and the people were carried away into Babylon. The Yahweh-Baal struggle ended with the captivity. And the captivity shocked the remnant of Israel into monotheism.
97:9.27 In Babylon the Jews arrived at the conclusion that they could not exist as a small group in Palestine, having their own peculiar social and economic customs, and that, if their ideologies were to prevail, they must convert the gentiles. Thus originated their new concept of destiny—the idea that the Jews must become the chosen servants of Yahweh. The Jewish religion of the Old Testament really evolved in Babylon during the captivity.
97:9.28 The doctrine of immortality also took form at Babylon. The Jews had thought that the idea of the future life detracted from the emphasis of their gospel of social justice[62]. Now for the first time theology displaced sociology and economics. Religion was taking shape as a system of human thought and conduct more and more to be separated from politics, sociology, and economics.
97:9.29 And so does the truth about the Jewish people disclose that much which has been regarded as sacred history turns out to be little more than the chronicle of ordinary profane history. Judaism was the soil out of which Christianity grew, but the Jews were not a miraculous people.



Urantia Book: Paper 97:10. THE HEBREW RELIGION

97:10.1 Their leaders had taught the Israelites that they were a chosen people, not for special indulgence and monopoly of divine favor, but for the special service of carrying the truth of the one God over all to every nation. And they had promised the Jews that, if they would fulfill this destiny, they would become the spiritual leaders of all peoples, and that the coming Messiah would reign over them and all the world as the Prince of Peace.
97:10.2 When the Jews had been freed by the Persians, they returned to Palestine only to fall into bondage to their own priest-ridden code of laws, sacrifices, and rituals. And as the Hebrew clans rejected the wonderful story of God presented in the farewell oration of Moses[63] for the rituals of sacrifice and penance, so did these remnants of the Hebrew nation reject the magnificent concept of the second Isaiah for the rules, regulations, and rituals of their growing priesthood.
97:10.3 National egotism, false faith in a misconceived promised Messiah, and the increasing bondage and tyranny of the priesthood forever silenced the voices of the spiritual leaders (excepting Daniel, Ezekiel, Haggai, and Malachi); and from that day to the time of John the Baptist all Israel experienced an increasing spiritual retrogression. But the Jews never lost the concept of the Universal Father; even to the twentieth century after Christ they have continued to follow this Deity conception.
97:10.4 From Moses to John the Baptist there extended an unbroken line of faithful teachers who passed the monotheistic torch of light from one generation to another while they unceasingly rebuked unscrupulous rulers, denounced commercializing priests, and ever exhorted the people to adhere to the worship of the supreme Yahweh, the Lord God of Israel.
97:10.5 As a nation the Jews eventually lost their political identity, but the Hebrew religion of sincere belief in the one and universal God continues to live in the hearts of the scattered exiles. And this religion survives because it has effectively functioned to conserve the highest values of its followers. The Jewish religion did preserve the ideals of a people, but it failed to foster progress and encourage philosophic creative discovery in the realms of truth. The Jewish religion had many faults—it was deficient in philosophy and almost devoid of aesthetic qualities—but it did conserve moral values; therefore it persisted. The supreme Yahweh, as compared with other concepts of Deity, was clear-cut, vivid, personal, and moral.
97:10.6 The Jews loved justice, wisdom, truth, and righteousness as have few peoples, but they contributed least of all peoples to the intellectual comprehension and to the spiritual understanding of these divine qualities. Though Hebrew theology refused to expand, it played an important part in the development of two other world religions, Christianity and Mohammedanism.
97:10.7 The Jewish religion persisted also because of its institutions. It is difficult for religion to survive as the private practice of isolated individuals. This has ever been the error of the religious leaders: Seeing the evils of institutionalized religion, they seek to destroy the technique of group functioning. In place of destroying all ritual, they would do better to reform it. In this respect Ezekiel was wiser than his contemporaries; though he joined with them in insisting on personal moral responsibility, he also set about to establish the faithful observance of a superior and purified ritual.
97:10.8 And thus the successive teachers of Israel accomplished the greatest feat in the evolution of religion ever to be effected on Urantia: the gradual but continuous transformation of the barbaric concept of the savage demon Yahweh, the jealous and cruel spirit god of the fulminating Sinai volcano, to the later exalted and supernal concept of the supreme Yahweh, creator of all things and the loving and merciful Father of all mankind. And this Hebraic concept of God was the highest human visualization of the Universal Father up to that time when it was further enlarged and so exquisitely amplified by the personal teachings and life example of his Son, Michael of Nebadon.


Essenes


The Essenes (in Modern but not in Ancient Hebrew: אִסִּיִים, Isiyim; Greek: Εσσηνοι, Εσσαιοι, or Οσσαιοι; Essēnoi, Essaioi, Ossaioi) were a Jewish sect that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE which some scholars claim seceded from the Zadokite priests.[1[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-0|]]] Being much fewer in number than the Pharisees and the Sadducees (the other two major sects at the time), the Essenes lived in various cities but congregated in communal life dedicated to asceticism, voluntary poverty, daily immersion, and abstinence from worldly pleasures, including (for some groups) marriage. Many separate but related religious groups of that era shared similar mystic, eschatological, messianic, and ascetic beliefs. These groups are collectively referred to by various scholars as the "Essenes." Josephus records that Essenes existed in large numbers, and thousands lived throughout Roman Judæa.

The Essenes have gained fame in modern times as a result of the discovery of an extensive group of religious documents known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are commonly believed to be Essenes' library—although there is no proof that the Essenes wrote them. These documents include preserved multiple copies of the Hebrew Bible untouched from as early as 300 BCE until their discovery in 1946. Some scholars, however, dispute the notion that the Essenes wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls.[2[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-1|]]] Rachel Elior, a prominent Israeli scholar, even questions the existence of the Essenes.


Essene Rules, customs, theology and beliefs


The accounts by Josephus and Philo show that the Essenes led a strictly communal life – often compared by scholars to later Christian monastic living. Many of the Essene groups appear to have been celibate, but Josephus speaks also of another "order of Essenes" that observed the practice of being engaged for three years and then becoming married.[36[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-35|]]] According to Josephus, they had customs and observances such as: collective ownership,[37[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-36|]]][38[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-37|]]] electing a leader to attend to the interests of the group, obedience to the orders from their leader.[39[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-38|]]] Also, they were forbidden from swearing oaths[40[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-josephus-war-2.135-39|]]] and from sacrificing animals.[41[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-40|]]] They controlled their tempers and served as channels of peace,[40[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-josephus-war-2.135-39|]]] carrying weapons only for protection against robbers.[42[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-41|]]] The Essenes chose not to possess slaves, but served each other[43[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-42|]]] and, as a result of communal ownership, did not engage in trading.[44[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-43|]]] Both Josephus and Philo provide lengthy accounts of their communal meetings, meals and religious celebrations.
After a total of three years' probation,[45[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-44|]]] newly joining members would take an oath that included the commitment to practice piety towards "the Deity" (το θειον) and righteousness towards humanity, to maintain a pure lifestyle, to abstain from criminal and immoral activities, to transmit their rules uncorrupted and to preserve the books of the Essenes and the names of the Angels.[46[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-45|]]] Their theology included belief in the immortality of the soul and that they would receive their souls back after death.[17[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-ReferenceB-16|]]][47[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-46|]]] Part of their activities included purification by water rituals, which was supported by rainwater catchment and storage.
Note that ritual purification was a common practice among peoples of the Palestine in this period and was thus not specific to the Essenes. Ritual baths are found near many Synagogues of the period.[48[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-47|]]]
The Church Father Epiphanius (writing in the 4th century CE) seems to make a distinction between two main groups within the Essenes:[30[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-lightfoot1875-29|]]] "Of those that came before his [Elxai, an Ossaean prophet] time and during it, the Ossaeans and the Nazarean.".[49[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-panarion1-19-48|]]] Epiphanius describes each group as following:
  • The Nazarean – they were Jews by nationality – originally from Gileaditis, Bashanitis and the Transjordan… They acknowledged Moses and believed that he had received laws – not this law, however, but some other. And so, they were Jews who kept all the Jewish observances, but they would not offer sacrifice or eat meat. They considered it unlawful to eat meat or make sacrifices with it. They claim that these Books are fictions, and that none of these customs were instituted by the fathers. This was the difference between the Nazarean and the others…[50[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-49|]]]
  • After this Nazarean sect in turn comes another closely connected with them, called the Ossaeans. These are Jews like the former… originally came from Nabataea, Ituraea, Moabitis and Arielis, the lands beyond the basin of what sacred scripture called the Salt Sea… Though it is different from the other six of these seven sects, it causes schism only by forbidding the books of Moses like the Nazarean.[49[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes#cite_note-panarion1-19-48|]]]
If it is correct to identify the community at Qumran with the Essenes (and that the community at Qumran are the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls), then according to the Dead Sea Scrolls the Essenes' community school was called "Yahad" (meaning "community") in order to differentiate themselves from the rest of the Jews who are repeatedly labeled "The Breakers of the Covenant".


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